Wednesday - Aug 23, 2017

FIFA World Cup – Germany and Brazil go through to the Semis- but at a price

FIFA World Cup - Germany and Brazil go through to the Semis- but at a price

The first game of the World Cup quarterfinals played on Friday evening at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Germany easily dismissed France in the process becoming became the first country in the history of the competition to figure in four consecutive World Cup semi-finals.

Although rumors were rife during the course of the week that some of the key players in the German team were suffering from flu and spend a lot of time in the treatment room, on the field Germany enjoyed almost total control of that eventually separated the two teams was a headed goal from defender Mats Hummels’ in the 12th minute.

Ultimately, it was France who let themselves down failing to reach the heights of that they had earlier in the tournament, with Les Bleus looking uncertain in midfield with Schweinsteiger, Khedira and Kroos dominating.

In the second half France did manage to make a few attacking chances the first coming when Antoine Griezmann broke clear and crossed for Mathieu Valbuena to force the excellent Neuer into a stunning one-handed save, with Karim Benzema, attempting to follow up from close-range, having his toe poke deflected over the bar.

As the match progressed Germany began to dampen France’s increased threat, dropping deeper and limiting with any shots that were on target from the French being comfortably by Neuer.

As a final whistle approached Germany’s manager Joachim Low pulled on Chelsea midfielder Andre Schurrle for the veteran Miroslav Klose and his energy in the midfield provided a tremendous boost for the tiring German team who held on comfortably for victory and a meeting with Brazil in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday after the hosts beat Colombia, you replay of the World Cup final of 2002.

Later in the evening, in a hard fought and overly physical match Brazilsecured a victory over Colombia in Fortaleza, losing two of their key players in the process, Neymar with a serious back injury and captain Thiago Silva through suspension.

It was Thiago Silva, who sent Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side on the way to the semifinals an early goal, from a Neymar corner in the seventh minute. David Luiz appeared to put the tie beyond doubt in the 68th minute, scoring an almost unstoppable long-range free-kick and Brazil looked on their way to a relatively easy passage into the semi-final match against Germany.

Colombia almost had the last word, when their rising star, James Rodriguez, who has sprung to international prominence during this World Cup, set up a thrilling finale when he pulled a goal back from a penalty spot in the 80th minute. However the Brazilian defense was always in control and never looked like being drawn into injury time.

Brazil’s ultimately comfortable victory was tarnished by the news that their key player and leading scorer Neymar, has been ruled out of the remainder of the tournament after suffering a fractured vertebra after being the victim of a vicious foul from Colombian defender Juan Zuniga. Overall the match was too physical to be much of a spectacle with Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo failing to stamp his influence on the game until too late with more fouls being committed in this time than any match at this tournament so far at 54, three more than in the Brazil vs Chile tie in the eighth round.

Brazil now remain unbeaten in 41 successive home matches, although the loss of both Neymar and Thiago Silva will surely be felt against a competent but uninspiring German side.

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